'Ninja-Kick' Nets Soccer Tropical Smoothie Invitational
Sept. 11, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Thanks to freshman Molly Huber'stimely "ninja-kick" the UK women's soccer team (7-0-0) captured its second championship in as many weekends, downing the Southeast Missouri (4-2-0) Redhawks 2-0 in the championship game of the Tropical Smoothie Invitational Sunday at the UK Soccer Complex.
For a while it looked as if the Wildcats might not equal the best start in school history. The team created several opportunities, but was never able to put together a great scoring opportunity until the 65th minute.
Once again it was senior captain Kelsey Hunyadi that got things started off a set piece. Hunyadi took a corner kick and placed it on the near-side of the goal where Molly Huberleapt and "ninja-kicked" the ball just inside the left post for a 1-0 lead and eventual game-winner.
"I remember going into the box and saying that I had to make my run there," Huber said. "We were just talking about making our runs; I just made one there and kind of `ninja-kicked' it in."
Kentucky added an insurance goal off yet another set piece in the 87th minute. Hunyadi took another corner kick, but this time placed it on the back side of the goal where junior captain Natalie Hornerfinished with a header just inside the post for her first goal of the season and the eventual 2-0 final.
"Compliments to the Southeast Missouri staff," UK head coach Jon Lipsitzsaid. "They had a fantastic game plan that made it very difficult for us to get in behind them. We made some adjustments at halftime and talked about getting wider and then we were either going to get a corner, or good service. It resulted in a lot of corners for us. We would like to score more from the field of play, but if the attack we are being given is corners, then we are going to have to take them and win the game that way."
The corner kick has quickly become Kentucky's favorite weapon as the Cats have netted four goals off a corner kick in their last four games.
"We take pride on set pieces," Lipsitz said. "We practice them all the time. It is part of our reputation for sure. We have to continue to possess the ball well and work hard every day."
The Wildcats finished with a season-high 21 shots, while holding the Redhawks to just six attempts. Additionally, Kentucky attempted 11 corner kicks to SEMO's one.
Freshman goalie Kayla Pricewas splendid in the net, tallying her third shutout of the season and her second on the weekend. In particular she came up big on a SEMO shot in the 58th minute to preserve a scoreless tie. Lauren Bozesky got free and unleashed a hard shot from nearly 18 yards out, but Price dove to her right to make the save and thwart the Redhawk threat.
The win for Kentucky was their seventh straight to start the season, equaling the best start in program history in 2001. It's also the longest winning-streak for the Wildcats since that same streak 10 years ago.
UK has one final pre-conference tune-up prior to opening play in the Southeastern Conference when they travel to Dayton, Ohio on Sept. 17 to take on the Dayton Flyers.